Wednesday, December 03, 2008

The Secret Churches

In my research I've discovered the existence of several defunct churches now in service as something else. Sometimes it's fairly obvious the structure used to be a church but sometimes it just looks like a house.

Norwegian Lutheran Free Church - Wardwell Avenue in Westerleigh

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I never even realized this places existence until my friend, Steve MacD. told me about an aunt who'd attended an evangelical Norwegian church in Westerleigh. Later I correlated this memory when going through the Davis and Leng Staten Island books at the CSI Staten Island Archives. Funnily enough, despite it's obvious previous history as a church, it never occurred to me all the times I drove past the building.

Kingsley Methodist Church - Cebra Avenue in Stapleton

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All I know is that was one of the great Methodist Calamity casualties in the late sixties. When I was a lad I was told it was owned by two "gentlemen artists", later the Mormons owned it. It was the center of the Mormoning activities which consisted primarily of sending out two tow-headed young men in white shirts and black ties to knock on doors. Later a Pentecostal congregation set up residence there and I don't know what the present owner plans to do with it. From the below old postcard you can see it once had the common four sided steeple I'm finding on many of the Island's old wooden Methodist churches. I've only recently realized how big the building actually is (50' by 85') and I imagine there are extensions in the back for offices and the like.

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